Q: What is the difference in a Japonica and a Sasanqua camellia? I’ve been planning to purchase a camellia that blooms in the winter. Which one of these does that?

A: Camellia Sasanqua blooms in the fall, and the C. Japonica blooms in late winter and early spring.

Q: We recently were given two potted azaleas for our anniversary. Is it too late to plant them now, or should I wait until spring?

A: You may plant the azaleas now, as long as the ground is workable and not frozen. Our winters are not generally cold enough to do any damage to shrubs and trees, but since these shrubs will be newly planted, I would cover the ground under the canopy area of the shrubs with mulch to help protect them.

Q: I planted three tall ginger plants last spring that produced beautiful white flowers. The stalks are dead. Is the plant dead, or is it alive, and will it return in the spring? If it is alive, should I cut back the dead stalks now and cover the plant with mulch, or have I waited too late?

A: In this area, the stalks of tall ginger plants die back in the winter, but the plant is alive. Yes, the plant will return next year. The greenery will appear in the summer and the plant will bloom in late summer or fall. Cut back the stalks and cover the plant with mulch.

Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to clink43@bellsouth.net.